The Moral Animal: Virtue, Vice & Human Nature

The Moral Animal: Virtue, Vice & Human Nature

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By

Presented by The Nour Foundation, The New York Academy of Sciences, and Wisconsin Public Radio's nationally-syndicated program To the Best of Our Knowledge

 

Video of the full event is available on the Nour Foundation's YouTube channel.

In Tolstoy's famous novella, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, a rich and meaningful inner life is sacrificed in pursuit of material rewards and social status. How can we cultivate something intrinsic that transcends our worldly accomplishments? Assuming a basic model or map of human nature is needed to navigate the road to the good life, what desires, tendencies, and aversions comprise our core nature? How has our evolutionary history shaped our moral impulses? Are we inherently good, or fundamentally flawed? Philosophers Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Christian Miller, neuroscientist Heather Berlin, and science writer Michael Shermer examine our moral ecology and its influence on our underlying assumptions about human nature.

*Reception to follow.

Featuring

Heather Berlin, PhD, MPH

Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital
Recipient of the 2010 Young Investigator Award from the American Neuropsychiatric Association and co-host of Science Goes to the Movies

Christian Miller, PhD

Professor of Philosophy at Wake Forest University
Author of "Moral Character: An Empirical Theory"

Michael Shermer, PhD

Presidential Fellow at Chapman University
Publisher of Skeptic Magazine and columnist for Scientific American
Author of "The Moral Arc: How Science Leads Humanity toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom"

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, PhD

Chauncey Stillman Professor of Practical Ethics at Duke University
Author of "Conscious Will and Responsibility"

Moderator

Steve Paulson

Executive Producer, Wisconsin Public Radio's nationally-syndicated program To the Best of Our Knowledge

Registration — Individual Lecture Prices

Member$5
Member (Student / Postdoc / Resident / Fellow)$5
Nonmember$15
Nonmember (Student / Postdoc / Resident / Fellow)$7


Presented by

  • The New York Academy of Sciences
  • Nour Foundation
  • To the Best of Our Knowledge

Media Sponsor


This event is part of the From Knowledge to Wisdom series.

Moderated by journalist Steve Paulson, Executive Producer of Wisconsin Public Radio’s nationally syndicated program To the Best of our Knowledge, this timely and engaging three-part series at the New York Academy of Sciences brings together an array of leading scientists, philosophers, and scholars for an interdisciplinary investigation into the evolving nature of the human condition and the ultimate quest to discover how to lead the good life.

To learn more about each lecture and to purchase tickets, click on the links below.

Speakers

Featuring

Heather Berlin, PhD, MPH

Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital
Recipient of the 2010 Young Investigator Award from the American Neuropsychiatric Association and co-host of Science Goes to the Movies

Heather Berlin is a cognitive neuroscientist and assistant professor of psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai where she also completed her National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), U.S. National Institutes of Health post-doctoral fellowship. She explores interactions of the human brain and mind with the goal of contributing to improved treatment and prevention of impulsive and compulsive psychiatric disorders. She is also interested in the neural basis of consciousness, dynamic unconscious processes, and creativity.

Berlin is a visiting scholar at the New York Psychoanalytic Society and was a visiting professor at Vassar College, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology/University of Zurich, and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is the recipient of numerous honors including the Young Investigator Award from the American Neuropsychiatric Association, the International Neuropsychological Society Phillip M. Rennick Award, the Young Investigator Award from the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder, and the Clifford Yorke Prize from the International Neuropsychoanalysis Society.

Passionate about science communication, Dr. Berlin is a committee member of the National Academy of Sciences' Science and Entertainment Exchange, host of the CUNY TV/PBS series Science Goes to the Movies, and the Discovery Channel series Superhuman Showdown. She has been in two critically acclaimed shows on the neuroscience of improvisation at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and has made numerous media appearances including on the BBC, History Channel, StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson, and TEDx. She received her DPhil from the University of Oxford and master of public health degree from Harvard University.

Christian Miller, PhD

Professor of Philosophy at Wake Forest University
Author of "Moral Character: An Empirical Theory"

Christian Miller is professor of philosophy at Wake Forest University and director of the Character Project, which was supported by $5.6 million in grant funding from the John Templeton Foundation and the Templeton World Charity Foundations. His main areas of research are meta-ethics, moral psychology, action theory, and philosophy of religion, and he is the author of over 65 papers in leading journals and volumes. He is the editor or co-editor of Essays in the Philosophy of Religion (Oxford University Press), Character: New Directions from Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology (Oxford University Press), Moral Psychology, Volume V: Virtue and Happiness (MIT Press), and The Continuum Companion to Ethics (Continuum Press). He has been awarded the 2014 Kulynych Family Omicron Delta Kappa Award for Student Engagement, the 2009 Reid-Doyle Prize for Excellence in Teaching, and the 2009 Award for Excellence in Research. He has two new books with Oxford University Press, Moral Character: An Empirical Theory (2013) and Character and Moral Psychology (2014), which together articulate a novel framework for thinking about character that is empirically supported by research in psychology, and is currently finishing a popular book on character entitled Test of Character.

Michael Shermer, PhD

Presidential Fellow at Chapman University
Publisher of Skeptic Magazine and columnist for Scientific American; author of "The Moral Arc: How Science Leads Humanity toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom"

Michael Shermer is the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, a regular contributor to Time.com and The Huffington Post, and Presidential Fellow at Chapman University. His latest book is The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity Toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom. He is also the author of The Believing Brain: The Mind of the Market, Why Darwin Matters, The Science of Good and Evil, How We Believe, and Why People Believe Weird Things. He has been a college professor since 1979, having also taught at Occidental College, Glendale College, and Claremont Graduate University. As a public intellectual, he regularly contributes opinion editorials, book reviews, and essays to The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Science, Nature, and other publications. Shermer received his BA in psychology from Pepperdine University, MA in experimental psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and his PhD in the history of science from Claremont Graduate University. He appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report, 20/20, Dateline, Charlie Rose, and Larry King Live (but, proudly, never Jerry Springer!). His two TED talks, seen by millions, were voted in the top 100 of the more than 2000 TED talks.

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, PhD

Chauncey Stillman Professor of Practical Ethics at Duke University
Author of "Conscious Will and Responsibility"

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong is Chauncey Stillman Professor of Practical Ethics in the department of philosophy and the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. He holds secondary appointments in the Duke University School of Law, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, and Center for Interdisciplinary Decision Sciences. He is a partner investigator at the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics and a research scientist with The Mind Research Network in New Mexico. He has published widely on ethics, empirical moral psychology and neuroscience, philosophy of law, epistemology, philosophy of religion, and informal logic. His current work focuses on moral psychology and brain science as well as uses of neuroscience in legal systems. He is writing books on scrupulosity and also on freedom and moral responsibility.

Moderator

Steve Paulson

Executive Producer, Wisconsin Public Radio's nationally-syndicated program To the Best of Our Knowledge

Travel & Lodging

Our Location

The New York Academy of Sciences

7 World Trade Center
250 Greenwich Street, 40th floor
New York, NY 10007-2157
212.298.8600

Directions to the Academy

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